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Written on: Thursday December 20th, 2007

We were supposed to be in Thailand for Christmas and New Year's according to our original plans, but as it happened we took far longer working our way through China and Vietnam than expected and instead chose Sihanoukville for our 'holiday' destination. I'm really glad it worked out this way as we couldn't have been in a better place.

The main town itself was nothing much, but Serendipity beach where we stayed was a really pretty little stretch of sand lined with wooden hut bars and restaurants. Our hotel was right on the beach right next to all the action - perfect for our relaxing 'rest' by the sea.

During our two weeks here we spent most of our time on the beach, geting some sun in the day and getting lots of booze in the night, only leaving on a few occassions to go into town or to a small island off the coast.

Our visits into town included a meal at the Snake Pit Restaurant (they have lots of snakes in glass boxes around the place) and some shopping on Christmas Eve at the local market.
The small island I mentioned was an hour's boat ride off the coast. Our first visit there was to 'Jonty's Jungle Experience' funnily enough run by a nice bloke called Jonty. Here you do not much except spend some time on the secluded beaches away from the Sihanoukville locals trying to sell stuff to you (such as books, bracelets, fruit, lobsters, sunglasses and 'apparently' really strong marijuana), and then sleep in hammocks at night.
Our second visit to the island was for the NYE party arranged by three local bars in Sihanoukville (about which Jonty was not happy). However, everyone who attended the party was very very happy indeed. We arrived at about 9pm on NYE and got back to the mainland at around midday on new year's day... I think.
Our other excursion was to Ream National Park on mopeds, where we got to ride on a dirt track through the jungle, after being given permission to enter what looked like a restricted area in the middle of nowhere by a Cambodian armed with an automatic weapon.
On our final night in Sihanoukeville there was a rather large fire behind our hotel which nearly set fire to it and some other hotels next door, but with the efforts of the locals and the tourists and of course me and Si, we managed to organise a line of people passing water up to the fire and put it out before any damage was done. Apparently the fire was a distraction from another fire in town which wiped out hundreds of market stalls so the many owners would have to move their stalls' location and the government could make more money out of them with higher rental rates.
We really liked Sihanoukville - a place I could come back to and spend some time living and working at... Si nearly did. But in the end he decided to continue the journey with me onwards towards Laos.